Thursday, November 6, 2014

36 Week Update

Here we are. 36 weeks and 4 days. Tomorrow is the big day. My mom arrived last night and my in-laws are en route. We were told to arrive at the hospital at 4 am tomorrow morning and the c-section will begin at 6:30 am.

This week we learned that Peter's weight estimate is 5 lbs. 6 oz. (that's give or take a pound) and he's in the 13% percentile! I'm so happy to see that he is growing. At my ultrasound last Friday I got to see Peter open his eyes and look around. It was a sweet but a little creepy if I'm being honest. :) He was also suckling which was just so precious to watch.

I've been worried this week about my blood and risk of DIC. However, my doctors have set me at ease about how they're managing my blood. It's all very complicated, but they are going to have some of my blood-type on hand in case it's needed and they're giving me medication in advance to manage the coagulation. They're not very worried at all. The thing they are worried about is Peter's position in my uterus. He's very high and Henry's in the way. They are a little concerned about extracting him safely.

I have a cyst on one of my ovaries that may require my ovary to be removed. That's the least of my worries at this point.

We'll learn soon if the babies were truly sharing a placenta or not. The doctors haven't been 100% sure and won't be until tomorrow or until lab results come back from the placenta following delivery.

Please pray specifically for Peter's health, my health, and for wisdom and peace all around. David and I are going to feel so much better once we're holding a healthy Peter and I'm all sewn up. Closure, if you will.

I keep singing "One Day More" from Les Mis in my head...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

35 Week Update

The past week has been quite uneventful (thankfully!). I've gone to my routine appointments and Peter has consistently scored 8 out of 8 on his ultrasound tests. Additionally, my bloodwork has been normal. We are grateful for an uneventful week and look forward to our c-section in a week and a half.

We're also in the process of planning Henry's memorial service to (likely) be held on November 11. I had no idea how difficult it would be to think about the details of the service. It's so emotionally draining, but I'm grateful for our friends and family who are helping with everything.

9 days and counting...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

34 Week Update

Today I'm officially 34 weeks along. This past week I've had two ultrasounds, labwork, and two dr.'s appointments. The doctors are keeping a close eye on Peter and he is consistently scoring 8 out of 8 on his biophysical profile tests. It's music to my ears every time I hear his sweet little heartbeat. Our high risk dr. has said that he is not worried about Peter's health and suspects that he will be delivered healthy.

The high risk dr. also said that he hasn't seen a case like mine in over ten years. Usually it's the smaller baby who dies, usually it's IVF babies, usually it's much earlier in pregnancy. He speculates that Henry may have died from heart failure. Perhaps his body was overloaded with blood/fluid from the shared placenta. We may learn more at delivery regarding the reason for his death, or we may never know. We're not going to have any special tests conducted to find answers. None of the answers will bring our son back.

My regular OB has scheduled a c-section for us on November 7 (the day after George's 4th birthday!). While this date could change if I go into labor sooner, it feels good to have a date to look forward to on the calendar. They aren't going to induce since both babies are transverse (lying across my body; neither head up or head down).

I had a great conversation this past week with the OB bereavement nurse at the hospital. She is helping us know what to expect in delivery and what arrangements need to be made in advance. She kept saying how unusual my case is because they don't often see stillbirths that have been allowed to stay in the womb so long.

David is meeting with a funeral home tomorrow to discuss our plans for Henry. We are starting to plan a small memorial service for our little guy too. I'll have two ultrasounds, two dr.'s appointments, and labwork again this week.

How am I doing? I'm asked this question all day long. The truth is: I don't know. I'm vacillating between sadness and peace and distraction. The past week and a half have been a blur. I've gotten better at holding in my tears in public, although I'm not sure if that's good or not. Just less embarrassing for me. I'm sleeping better too. This is just the beginning of our grief journey and I'm trying to balance normalcy with the kids with allowing myself time each day to think about Henry and cry. The Lord has given me peace about Henry's soul. We believe wholeheartedly that he is with Jesus in Heaven where there are no tears or sadness and one day I'll be reunited with my sweet son. I do grieve for my broken heart and for my family missing out on a precious little person whose life was over before he took his first breath. I wanted to know him. To nurture him. Tickle him. Smell him. I wanted so badly to be his momma on this earth. We have no idea why this has happened, but through the tears we rejoice in the fact that God is good. He is near to the brokenhearted. He puts my tears in his bottle. He has given us hope through Jesus. Death is not the end.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Darling Henry

It is incredibly difficult to write this. A post I never imagined I would have to write.

Our precious son, one of our twins, Henry Thomas Clark, is now in the arms of Jesus. We found out last Tuesday, October 7, during a routine ultrasound that he no longer has a heartbeat. Our surviving twin son, whom we've decided to name Peter, seems to be doing well so far. The doctors think that Henry passed away sometime between 30-32 weeks gestation. They do not know what happened. He was Baby A--the bigger one! The one we weren't concerned about. He was the star of all of the previous ultrasounds. The doctors were always concerned about the smaller one being too small.

The past week has been the longest, most miserable week of my entire life. After learning of Henry's demise, the doctors focused on monitoring Peter very closely. They would like him to stay in the womb until closer to 36 weeks. (I'm currently at 33 weeks.) I'm having ultrasounds (fetal biophysical profiles) twice a week, blood work weekly, and dr. visits weekly. Of course I feel like I want to get Peter out ASAP, but am trusting my doctors' wisdom and expertise. I am grateful that he looks fabulously healthy and is thriving as of now.

Even though we have great hope that Peter will be delivered healthy and happy, it does not negate the loss of his brother. Please never say "at least you have the other..." Henry deserves to be grieved and acknowledged. He is a precious gift from God. A unique soul. I will miss him every day until I'm reunited with him in Heaven. I know that someday I will throw my arms around him and the sting of his loss will be permanently erased from my heart.

Please pray for our sweet son, Peter, as we wait for him to develop a little while longer in utero. Please pray for us as we are just beginning to grieve and process this terrible news. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, support, and meals from our friends and family--near and far.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Short Update (28-30 weeks)

28 Week Check-Up: I went to the high-risk doctor two weeks ago and my regular OB the next day. We received a great report! The echogenic foci (ECF) on their hearts has faded slightly and I was encouraged to hear that the right ventricle ECF is a very unlikely location for the type found in babies with chromosomal abnormalities. They said that it's still really hard to know about the club foot. We probably won't know definitively until birth, which is fine with us! The difference in their sizes has increased to 17%. They want it to stay under 20%. This is the only thing the doctors are concerned about at this point. I'll go back in two weeks to have an ultrasound and check on the babies again.

Now I'm 30 weeks. Tomorrow I will have a checkup with my regular OB. Will update after tomorrow's visit. I will likely have frequent non-stress tests and biophysical profiles in the coming weeks.

I've started washing baby clothes. Luckily I saved most of George's things. I also have been having Braxton Hicks just about every evening. Babies will be here so soon!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

...And Twins Make Six!

I don't know how often I'll be able to post, but I'm hoping to chronicle this somewhat bumpy journey to meeting our precious (identical!) twin boys.
I'm currently 27 weeks pregnant with "mono-di" twins. This basically means that they are sharing one placenta and are in two separate amniotic sacs. No, we have no known family history of twins. Side note, did you know that identical twins tend to be spontaneous and fraternal twins are hereditary or a product of fertility treatment? Also, only the mother's genes are relevant in heredity. I never once imagined myself as a mama of mulitiples!
So here we are. I'm going to the doctor every three weeks and am having ultrasounds just as frequently. I started seeing a high risk specialist from the Univ. of Chicago two weeks ago. The doctors want to monitor the twins' sizes since they're sharing a placenta. They say it's like two babies sharing a plate of food--we don't want one to receive more than the other. The difference or discordance needs to be less than 20% and at this point it's 15%. I'm so grateful that their bodies are developing beautifully so far--no life-threatening concerns at this point. However, they did find that Twin A potentially has a club foot. Or his foot was at a weird angle when they scanned him. We should know more at the next ultrasound. This is easily corrected after birth even if he does have it. Additionally, they both have something called an echogenic cardiac focus (ECF) which is basically a bright spot on their hearts. It is not a defect or a health hazard, but can be an indicator for chromosomal abnormalities i.e. down syndrome. It's what they call a "soft" indicator and it is the only indicator they're positive for. ECF is common and can simply be a harmless mineralization or calcification that will disappear as the pregnancy progresses. All the same, they had me meet with a genetic counselor to chat about our odds for genetic disorders. Our odds are 1/950 at this point based on my age and the fact that there were no other indicators.
My next appointment/ultrasound is Sept. 9. While odds are very likely that the twins are just fine, I find myself worrying about all of the possible outcomes. The verse that has brought me the most comfort is Psalm 112:7 "He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."
Twin A

Twin B
In other news, our fall is off to a swift start! David started teaching last week and is staying super busy. I'm starting home-preschool with George in addition to a few other activities he's participating in (i.e. science class, AWANA, soccer, MOPS, etc.). Gemma is really taking off physically and verbally. She is just so much fun! She is OBSESSED with Mary Poppins, even though she doesn't watch it often. She usually asks for it first thing in the morning when she wakes up. Here's a precious video of them singing their favorite song from church.